I was looking through photos when I came across a bunch for a blog post I never wrote. Whoops! Better late than never, right? This recipe is for a super healthy, super easy salad. I made it when I was in Michigan for Christmas. Since it’s not heavily dressed, it holds up well, so I had it for a few days after, and it made for great leftovers.
My recipe is modified from one published in the 12/29/14 issue of People magazine.
Some of the changes were made out of necessity (based on ingredients my mom had in her house), and some were to cut calories and fat. Without further ado (because I’ve already been sitting on this for about three weeks), here’s how to make…
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Start with 1.5 cups of uncooked quinoa, and boil it on the stove according to the directions on the package. Quinoa is a whole grain that’s known as a super-food, because the protein it contains has all nine amino acids needed by humans, and that’s hard to find in non-meat foods.
Your quinoa will take about 20 minutes to cook, and you can cook it ahead of time, so it has plenty of time to cool after you drain it. This is a cold salad.
While my quinoa was cooking, I fired up another burner on low heat and toasted 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Toasting nuts is easy: put them in a dry pan over low heat, and when you start to smell them, they’re done. The heat just intensifies the flavor.
While my quinoa was cooling, I started prepping the bunch of kale that I got at the store. Kale is a hearty green, but you have to remove the thick center rib from each leaf, which are too tough for a salad. I used the entire bunch of kale, because I didn’t see any point of not using it up. After cutting out the ribs, the leaves went for a spin in the ol’ salad spinner.
Once dry, I rough chopped them into smaller pieces. One bunch of kale nearly filled my mom’s big wooden salad bowl!
Next I added all the salad toppings:
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced.
- 8 baby carrots, sliced thin.
- the 1/2 cup pecans that were previously toasted
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup crumbled non-fat feta cheese
Also, a handful of fresh basil and parsley leaves, which I sliced into thin ribbons.
The dressing is simple. Just one tablespoon olive oil (that’s right, just one), mixed with the juice of one lemon. To amp up the citrus flavor, I added an equal amount of lime juice (from a bottle, although use fresh limes if you have ’em!).
I did all the prep work earlier in the day, and at dinner time, I added the quinoa, which had a few hours to cool in the fridge, to the salad, poured on the dressing, and tossed it all together.
It was wonderful, with all sorts of textures. Crunch from pecans and carrots. Creaminess from the feta. Pops of flavor from the raisin and fresh herbs. And the whole thing was super light and, because of the lemon and lime juice, very bright.
Can’t wait to make this again.
Keep it up, David!